Military Embedded Systems

Collecting semiconductor products


October 21, 2013

John McHale

Editorial Director

Military Embedded Systems

NEWBURYPORT, MA. I've found where they put the Lost Ark at the end of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" -- it's in an aftermarket semiconductor warehouse in Newburyport, MA. Seriously, Rochester Electronics has a storage area for products going back decades that is eerily similar to the one in the movie (see photo).

I visited the company last week for the first time in at least 10 years and was impressed by their growth -- three more buildings since my last visit. A significant military industry acquisition made by Rochester Electronics was the complete product line of LSI Logic, that includes parts going back to the 1980s. Rochester is contractually licensed to distribute the LSI Logic's semiconductor devices to enable legacy and end-of-life product support. Rochester is essentially in the "just in case" business, says company Co-President Paul Gerrish. A good portion of the just in case business is military related as the long-term program life cycles of defense applications don't always mesh well with commercial products that are often obsolete after six months.

They've even created their own super hero to fight obsolescence -- Captain Rochester. Seriously that's one of their marketing campaigns. They've even recruited top comic book artists to design individual trading cards of characters from the comic book. Artists very recognizable to those who spent their childhood in the 1970s reading Marvel comic books -- like me.

While Captain Rochester seems pretty original I think the Marvel character for aftermarket suppliers should be the Collector, who has spent eons collecting "living beings and artifacts" in case some evil would wipe out all life, according to Marvel's website.